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HostingCon Global 2015: why taking a cloud position means big bucks.

 

HosstinCon_Team

We wrapped up an exciting and eventful HostingCon Global 2015 last week in sunny San Diego and wanted to share some key takeaways and impressions from the show. During the three day conference we met many hosting companies, tech vendors and IT pros at our booth, the wholesale cloud panel, and various parties and sessions.

When it comes to wholesale cloud, it’s fascinating to watch potential clients discover a solution like OrionVM, and realize what it truly enables for them in terms of features, time-to-market and revenue upside. At first they can be a little incredulous…”Really? You can’t be 50% less expensive than AWS and actually deliver a higher performing platform?!??” Then there usually is a “light bulb” moment when they understand that OrionVM’s cloud architecture really is different from anything else on the market. Suddenly the excitement of how easily they can deploy premium cloud services and what this means for their business hits them – especially in contrast to traditional approaches that had framed their expectations in the past.

Timing also is a key factor, as many orgs we spoke with already had million dollar investments in OpenStack or VMware deployments still being leveraged for ROI.  The irony is that their commitment to these legacy systems often prevents them from achieving the very benefits they seek e.g. increasing operational agility, ability to layer in new services, and generating enough profit margin vs. the price drops of the IaaS retailers like AWS that they must continually compete against.

“The reason why it is so difficult for existing firms to capitalize on disruptive innovations is that their processes and their business model that make them good at the existing business actually make them bad at competing for the disruption.” – Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School

From MSP to CSP – hosting companies that have traditionally sold hardware know they need to offer cloud, but they often do not see a clear, profitable path to doing this. Wholesale cloud has emerged as the disruptive third option between the complexity/cost of building their own infrastructure, and the thin margins, limited support, and hidden scaling costs of using a public IaaS retailer.

Wholesale Superstructure presentation and panel

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The themes of Cloud 2.0 and the wholesale business model were hot topics during our presentation and panel on Tuesday: Wholesale Superstructure: Evolving Cloud via Tech Innovation. The presentation focused on showing the dynamic relationship between tech innovation, the wholesale business model, and the growing segment of MSPs, SIs and VARs now able to compete against larger players. We explored how building and deploying enterprise-grade cloud is a difficult task – but one that has been radically transformed via technical breakthroughs and the extreme design efficiency of new cloud architecture. Leveraging these advancements, wholesale cloud now allows service providers to 1) quickly launch infrastructure services under their own brand. 2) generate new recurring revenue streams, and 3) concentrate on what they do best to gain a competitive advantage and succeed.

Cumulus Networks and Centered Networks, valued technology partners also joined our panel and both eloquently spoke about the IT trends and issues they were seeing amongst their clients and in the market.  Some of the questions we tackled included:

  • Where are you seeing the most traction?  Who’s driving cloud projects in organizations?
  • What are some of the biggest infrastructure challenges or concerns you have seen from clients or partners?
  • Is Cloud a pure commodity (e.g., race to the bottom) or is it more of a strategic decision?

While there was some debate and differing opinions, one thing that everyone agreed on were the tremendous opportunities new technologies (software-defined datacenter, hyperconverged infrastructure, open networking etc.) have brought to the industry. Stay tuned for more analysis and a deeper exploration of these themes as they are central to our thought leadership and content roadmap.

Discover What’s Possible

The theme of HostingCon was highly relevant, given that “discovering what’s possible” is key to making better informed IT purchasing decisions and choosing the best product/services for your specific requirements. And this, really, is what infrastructure hosting is all about. As discovery is an ongoing process, events like HostingCon are great touch points for staying abreast of the latest advancements and learning how your IT options may have evolved/expanded.

hostingcon15_DP win

In addition to winning a Sony Playstation PS4 (thank you Staminus) and eating way too much pasta in the Gaslight district – we left San Diego with some new friends and serious momentum to drive us as we continue to evangelize wholesale cloud and the new opportunities/profitability it brings to the hosting industry and beyond.

Did we miss you at the show? No worries, drop us a line here and take advantage of our HostingCon special (limited time offer!).

Hyperconvergence & Why It Matters for Enterprise Cloud

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“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.” – John Gall

Hyperconvergence is all the IT rage these days—even Gartner recently created a magic quadrant dedicated to the topic. With weekly announcements about multi-million dollar VC investments and new product releases, this space is still relatively young and pits some of the larger traditional vendors against a cast of emerging startups.

For all the buzz and spin around it, however, hyperconvergence itself is about simplicity—a minimalist approach that addresses many of the current cloud limitations and headaches. For example, a big challenge for today’s high-level IT decisions makers is finding a careful balance between the often competing technical, financial, and strategic priorities of their companies or clients. For most organizations, reducing the amount of time and effort that it takes to deploy new business-facing IT services is a complicated mess, and there are no clear paths for doing this easily, quickly, and affordably from launch to scale. The datacenter architecture is simply too rigid or too complex. Business units have to wait while IT prepares the environment, and then everyone crosses their fingers hoping there is sufficient resources to support demand and critical operations.
Hyperconverged infrastructure has the potential to help effectively address these issues, and in turn reduce or maybe even end the need for IT finger-crossing.

What is Hyperconvergence?

Converged systems are a natural progression from traditional IT infrastructure, which typically involves separate silos of systems and operations. In these legacy environments, storage, servers, and network are discrete elements that need to be coordinated, connected, and managed. The concept of converged systems combines two or more of these infrastructure components as a unified pre-engineered solution usually deployed on commodity hardware.

Hyperconverged systems take this concept of convergence to the next level. While converged systems are separate components engineered to work well together, hyperconverged systems are modular systems designed to scale out by adding additional modules.

Why Does it Matter to Enterprise IT?

“Software licenses for virtualization often cost more than the actual systems, and companies with hyper-scale data centers (e.g., Google and Amazon) don’t pay VMware or Microsoft for virtualization licenses — why should you?”  – Nimbox

One of the most significant advantages of this approach is leveraging a relatively simple design for a complex infrastructure environment. Normally, it could take months to design an infrastructure using a mix of best-in-class technologies. The differences between a hyperconverged system and servers with a bunch of disks are evident in engineering and software, with hyperconverged solutions leveraging improvements at the storage controller software layer to allow these systems to scale out.

In addition to the simplified architecture, there’s also a simplified administration model. The hyperconverged systems are managed via “a single pane of glass.” Instead of having a set of applications and a team to manage your storage array, a team to manage virtualization, and a team to manage the server hardware, one team (or in some environments one person) can manage the complete hyperconverged stack. What all this hardware simplification and architectural consolidation boils down to are immense savings and finally reasonable costs for scaling and growing out your Cloud IT footprint.

Platform or Appliance?

Most common definitions of hyperconvergence focus on appliances. The drawbacks to these appliances include the inability to make granular upgrades or tweaks to the system. Storage growth and performance tuning are also pain points for most organizations. If a cluster runs low on storage but not compute, you must still upgrade overall compute capability by adding another appliance. Likewise, if you want to tune storage disk configuration for a particular application, this can be a challenge, too.

In the past, the remedy for these drawbacks was the “build-your-own platform” approach. For many, the risk, lead-time, and cost of doing so were prohibitive, and most preferred to wait for solutions to mature and cover their platform requirements.

That wait is now over. OrionVM has built a platform that can be branded and deployed as an organization’s own hyperconverged cloud. The white-label functionality of this solution allows an organization to have unlimited levels of resellers and end users, bringing the advantages of simple design, decreased administrative overhead, and simplified vendor management to highly virtualized environments without the common drawbacks associated with appliances.

Simplifying the Datacenter

While the cloud continues to be considered not suitable for everything, the datacenter will continue to play an integral role for many companies. Even those companies that embrace the cloud are unlikely to move everything, so there remains a need to simplify the datacenter, especially when it comes to supporting new initiatives. Building datacenter environments is a lot of work and requires significant planning to ensure capacity. The emerging hyperconverged market can be of great assistance in meeting datacenter integration needs and can scale to fulfill requirements of even the largest of organizations. It also simplifies the datacenter by providing a one-stop shop for the entire environment with a single phone number for support.

With the demand for these solutions expected to rise significantly in the coming years, it seems likely that these organizations will dramatically alter the landscape of cloud providers, redefining how and by whom cloud services are sold. As IT departments are continually being directed more toward the business and less toward the technology, the need and desire to turn to solutions like the cloud and hyperconverged infrastructure will cause CIOs to simplify their datacenter and redistribute workloads in new and agile ways.

OrionVM – Taking Hyperconvergence to the Next Level Since 2010

OrionVM Hyperconverged architecture

Hyperconverged solutions are the future of cloud IT. These systems continue to garner a tremendous amount of momentum in the marketplace. Hyperconvergence is at the heart of what differentiates OrionVM from every other CSP out there, and is the cornerstone of what makes us different. But not all hyperconverged systems are created equal—OrionVM has a custom-built platform that possesses some unique features and, as a result, passes along some significant advantages. OrionVM has built its hyperconverged stack from the kernel up – we use open source tech e.g. Linux and XEN hypervisor, then combine that with supercomputer mojo (e.g., 40 gig low latency Inifniband interconnect as opposed to 10gig Ethernet.)  The end result is a complete homogenous, fully distributed scale-out architecture that delivers efficiencies and COGS reduction (power/hardware) unprecedented and unmatched in terms of cost/performance and combination of features.

The differentiators and advantages inherent in OrionVM’s hyperconverged wholesale cloud platform include:

  • Solves storage issues with a fully distributed block store that integrates compute, memory, and storage into single replicated nodes
  • No CAPEX: hyperconverged infrastructure offered as a platform vs. the high up front cost of buying an appliance
  • Can utilize preexisting assets such as datacenter capacity, network connectivity
  • Complete white label capability
  • Multi-tier reseller org management functionality
  • Wholesale model delivers sustainable cost advantages that increase in savings based on capacity commitments
  • Extreme performance/resiliency – up to 100,000 IO @ 4k in a VM with self-healing fully redundant architecture

For more detailed technical information on OrionVM technology, explore this blog post and keep an eye out for future posts that will expand on other groundbreaking technical advancements of the platform. OrionVM’s hyperconverged tech is market-tested and market-proven, running production workloads for Tier 1 telecoms, publicly traded SaaS orgs, and government agencies since 2010.

Conclusion: The Future of Hyperconvergence—“To Infinity and Beyond!”

Hyperconverged infrastructure will continue to gain market traction, marginalize legacy systems, and underpin the massive migration of IT to the cloud. Some interesting drama lie ahead as big name incumbents battle the upstarts and, in some cases, go head to head with the very vendors they enabled (see Nutanix vs. VMware). With its tech innovation, OrionVM is uniquely positioned to carve out a differentiated role and shake up this industry, as we empower a whole sector of service providers to instantly leverage all the benefits of hyperconverged infrastructure… but with a no-CAPEX IT-as-a-service business model and wholesale pricing.

Stay tuned for more posts, analysis, and exploration on this topic as it is fundamental to so much that is happening in the current cloud ecosystem.  Hyperconvergence is a key factor that finally allows businesses to leverage and benefit from the long-touted promise of the cloud.

For further information on partnering with OrionVM please visit our Channel Partner page, or contact us

Channel Partners buzz: security, cloud education and wholesale cloud

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The team is back from Las Vegas from the annual Channel Partners Conference and our heads are spinning with ideas from all of the great discussions we had with service providers and colleagues.

channelpartnersmarch2015_shengDuring our panel session, on the exhibit floor, and during show related events we heard a lot of chatter about various cloud related topics. Here are just a few of our takeaways from the event:

  • Security and compliance are still top concerns – during our panel session Moving Clients’ Apps to the Cloud at the Channel Partners Conference, security and compliance were hot topics. There is still a lot of apprehension when it comes to the cloud, but it becomes apparent that we need to look at both the application and infrastructure layers individually to determine the proper division of responsibility. In our recent blogpost we discussed security and the misguided notion that on-premise solutions are inherently safer. The bottom line: the cloud is a secure place to be, it really is just a matter of looking at the whole picture and understanding how your stack is built to effectively address vulnerabilities and implement an ongoing strategy that will keep data safe.
  • White label wholesale cloud is a game-changer for channel partners – after numerous demos and discussions of our wholesale cloud platform and the benefits our ground-breaking Cloud 2.0 architecture engender, it was clear that many attendees were unaware that an option like OrionVM even existed. This exemplifies how service providers today really are trapped between the cost and complexity of either building their own cloud (typically via legacy stacks e.g. VMware, Cisco, EMC etc.) or resigning themselves to using a public retailer like AWS. A light bulb literally goes off when they realize they can have the advantages of both approaches, minus any of their drawbacks. Wholesale white label cloud continues to garner traction amongst telcos, MSPs, SIs, and VARs alike as these clients discover the ease and speed at which they can brand and deploy their own Private, Public and Hybrid cloud solutions. No other CSP at the expo offered an out-of-the-box, turnkey platform like OrionVM, making us a unique opportunity for the channel to truly differentiate and gain a competitive advantage in the market.
  • The need for education around cloud innovation – cloud is still a relatively new concept for a wide range of service providers previously focused on selling hardware, colocation, or telecom products. We are seeing a huge need for education on emerging tech, data center advancements, and recent cloud innovations. Other companies, along with OrionVM, represent an IT transformation that can liberate from legacy approaches as the brave new world of cloud is cluttered with spin, hype, and a complex array of vendors and services.  In the spirit of this IT transformation, we attended the very cool Renegade Trust launch party during the conference, and are excited to collaborate/participate with this consortium in the future to help educate the market and evangelize some of the new tools and technologies now available. The current cloud ecosystem is populated by many who are unaware of the cost-savings and options now possible, or still simply view the industry through the biased lens of a particular vendor, agent, or outdated infrastructure allegiance. Whether someone uses OrionVM or not, it really all is about building community and helping peers and colleagues make better informed purchasing decisions that best match their specific requirements.

Did we miss you at the show? No worries, our expo special promo is still available to eligible channel partners until June 30th, 2015. Find out more here.

The OrionVM Wholesale Cloud Platform gives any service provider a tremendous opportunity to quickly and profitably deliver enterprise-grade cloud services for their users and organizations.

The Cloud Street Fight: How Leading IT Broker Stratacore Wins with OrionVM Wholesale Cloud

We recently published a case study on our channel partner, StrataCore, an IT services consultancy and brokerage based in Seattle. Today, we thought that we would share their story and explore some exciting trends in the world of next-gen IaaS, wholesale cloud, and the rise of the IT broker. StrataCore began sourcing cloud services for their business clients a few years ago as demand for cloud began growing rapidly. Dealing with vendor selection and management can be problematic for IT executives, so StrataCore assumes the burden of selection, negotiation and ongoing management, thus saving time, mitigating risk and reducing costs. Brokers like Stratacore play a critical role in the booming cloud ecosystem as they help differentiate real value from spin, optimal configurations and vendors from a seemingly infinite set of hardware and software options, all the while balancing the often-competing technical, financial, and strategic priorities. Successful brokers like StrataCore do this with a holistic vision of a company’s goals so that their decisions do not detrimentally sacrifice one aspect (technical, financial, or strategic) in a manner that negatively impacts the overall health of a client’s business.

Broker+Client+OrionVM = Win-Win-Winning

StrataCore pairs a client’s need for a public, private, or hybrid cloud with the appropriate cloud service provider (CSP) to ensure that operational goals are achieved. With a multitude of vendors and services available today, it’s up to StrataCore to differentiate among them to identify the best possible fit for each particular project. A recent example of this was a NASDAQ-listed client who needed a CSP with presence in Australia that could deliver high-performing cloud IT in support of a multi-million dollar commercial SaaS application. After a thorough review of the market and various vendors, StrataCore referred OrionVM to their client as the best solution. OrionVM’s deployment was not only a success in terms of meeting cost, performance and timing requirements, but now is expanding to additional global POPS (points of presence). Complex deployment requirements, matched with an innovative cloud vendor, and StrataCore became the hero brokering a solution not otherwise possible via traditional options. Consequently, a happy client also means additional business and exemplifies the type of channel partnerships that provide ongoing value and profit for all involved parties. A true win-win-winning collaboration.

OrionVM’s groundbreaking tech suite sits squarely in StrataCore’s sweet spot: its firm commitment to providing the best possible solutions at the lowest possible cost to its clients. As a leading IaaS partner, OrionVM allows StrataCore to offer superior technical performance, huge CAPEX savings, and extreme flexibility for deploying premium cloud IT.

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Josh Gay, Director of Strategic Alliances, StrataCore

As Josh Gay, the Director of Strategic Alliances at StrataCore states:


“The stakes are high when deciding how to best deploy and scale a company’s IT, and OrionVM’s next-gen technology helps StrataCore deliver winning IaaS solutions for some of our top clients. OrionVM has cracked the code of how to build high-performing, extremely reliable cloud infrastructure—all at significantly lower price points than the offerings of bigger name vendors.”

By signing on as an OrionVM channel partner, StrataCore is now able to offer the tangible technical benefits of Cloud 2.0 to clients, which include:

  • A turnkey, custom-designed and built infrastructure platform that utilizes technology commonly found in supercomputers
  • The highest level of efficiency, with performance that allows migration of enterprise workloads
  • 40–1000 times the storage performance of a standard Amazon server, enabling clients to do more with less infrastructure
  • A fully redundant platform for rapid fail-over of servers in the event of an outage, ensuring resiliency with multiple copies of all data
  • Premium cloud IT built with a 50%+ reduction of the power/hardware footprint of prevailing Cloud 1.0 systems for huge cost savings

Advice for fellow IT Brokers and Resellers—proven innovators trump your misperceived allegiance to legacy vendors.

Identifying the best-in-class solution demanded by clients takes thorough research and vetting, and StrataCore stakes its reputation on the quality and reliability of its partner vendors. Successful deployments are the proof in the pudding, and satisfied clients ensure that this ongoing symbiotic relationship continues for the benefit of all. When it comes to sourcing CSPs, they look for companies that will not only meet the financial and technical requirements of the project, but they will be easy to work with, are well-supported, and provide tools and features that offer speed and efficiency when launching new systems. Additionally, by identifying breakthrough innovators like OrionVM, StrataCore sets clients up to win by delivering an infrastructure ROI not otherwise possible via legacy vendors, thus enabling clients to gain a real competitive advantage.

Cloud 2.0 changes the game – Is your CSP bonafide?

IT service providers have historically struggled between (1) the huge CAPEX and long development cycles of building their own cloud (BYO) and (2) the limited features/flexibility and hidden scaling costs of public retailers like AWS. Until now, there simply has not been cloud tech this cost-effective and powerful (in performance and reliability) to enable a third option between BYO and retail IaaS. OrionVM wholesale cloud delivers all the benefits of each approach, and amazingly, with none of the drawbacks.

This type of one-stop, complete turnkey cloud solution is unprecedented in the IT ecosystem, and thus, is truly a game-changer. Or as stated by BizCloud:


“OrionVM’s Wholesale Cloud Platform has the potential to really shake up the U.S. Infrastructure as a Service market. The breakthrough technology and fully distributed architecture of the platform enables cloud brokers and service providers to maximally monetize the cloud by rapidly delivering differentiated, enterprise-class cloud services while keeping costs down. By offering the best price-performance ratio on the market to its white-label partners, OrionVM enables them to compete more effectively with larger, more established cloud providers.”

OrionVM Venn Diagram

Summary: Cloud is a street fight – who really has your back?

We are entering a new realm of cloud computing as the next wave of technical innovation from emerging startups brings the dawn of Cloud 2.0, and with it, a new era of IT transformation and agility.

Alongside breakthroughs in disruptive IaaS technologies is the rise of the IT broker’s role in sourcing solutions, particularly for SMBs not beholden to legacy systems and therefore able to quickly move to or launch in the cloud. This new wholesale cloud superstructure presents a tremendous opportunity for service providers to capture market share. The global market for cloud services is expected to grow from $131 billion in 2013 to $244 billion by 2017 (source: PwC).

Wholesale cloud capitalizes on 3 exploding global ICT trends

Wholesale cloud capitalizes on 3 exploding global ICT trends

If your company is not leveraging these advancements of Cloud 2.0, and purchasing known quantities of cloud consumption at wholesale rates—then you are at a competitive disadvantage and probably throwing money and resources away on legacy Cloud 1.0 vendors and business models. OrionVM has flipped the cloud narrative, and though the saying goes that ‘nobody got fired for using IBM’, tech savvy CEOs and CFOs, not brand-hypnotized, may soon be asking their IT leaders, “Why didn’t we choose a CSP that allows us to easily launch stunningly secure and reliable enterprise cloud services, but at half the cost of our current big-name vendor?!?”

Ignorance will no longer be an acceptable answer.

OrionVM Wholesale Cloud Honored as Gold Stevie® Award Winner in 2014 American Business Awards

Winners in ABA’s Tech & New Product Awards Ceremony Announced in San Francisco

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OrionVM® (http://www.orionvm.com), a leading provider of wholesale Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and next-gen cloud technology, was presented with a Gold Stevie® Award in the New Product or Service of the Year, Software – Cloud Infrastructure category in The 12th Annual American Business Awards last Friday night.

The American Business Awards are the nation’s premier business awards program. All organizations operating in the U.S.A. are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small.



Nicknamed the Stevies for the Greek word for “crowned,” the trophies were presented to winners during a gala banquet on Friday, September 12 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.  More than 250 nominees and their guests attended for the presentation of new product awards, website awards, app awards, and more.



This year’s American Business Awards were presented at two awards events.  Awards for marketing, customer service, human resources, and other disciplines were announced in Chicago in June.  Last Friday night’s event focused on the technology and new product awards categories.

More than 3,300 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories, including Most Innovative Company of the Year, Management Team of the Year, Best New Product or Service of the Year, Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year, and Executive of the Year, among others.  OrionVM’s Wholesale Cloud Platform won in the New Product or Service of the Year category for Software – Cloud Infrastructure.



“Receiving this award validates all of the hard-work that our team has put into making our dream of delivering a better cloud a reality,” said OrionVM Co-Founder and CEO Sheng Yeo. “The market is ready for disruptive technologies like OrionVM’s wholesale cloud offering that help companies to remain competitive, increase efficiency, and generate new business like never before.”



OrionVM helps IT solution providers drive profit and deliver high-performing, enterprise-grade cloud services. Fueled by strong demand for its market-leading wholesale cloud platform, OrionVM achieved a record year in 2013 with a 20-fold increase of customers, adding enterprise clients such as Fastly, D-Link, and Vodafone, while launching key technology partnerships with Cumulus NetworksTM and Mellanox. OrionVM is Australia’s largest wholesale cloud IaaS provider and recently announced their US expansion in early 2014 with a new headquarters office in San Francisco, CA.



Stevie Award winners were selected by more than 240 executives nationwide who participated in the judging process.



“We’re delighted to recognize so many innovative companies, new products, technical achievements, and technology executives this year,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards.  “We congratulate all of the Stevie Award winners, and thank them for the inspiration their achievements have stimulated.”



Details about The American Business Awards and the lists of Stevie Award winners who were announced on September 12 are available at www.StevieAwards.com/ABA.



Entries for the 2015 edition of the ABAs will open in October



For more information on OrionVM’s Wholesale Cloud Platform, visit http://www.orionvm.com. Follow OrionVM on Twitter (@orionvm) and Facebook (https://facebook.com/orionvm).



About OrionVM®
OrionVM is a wholesale Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider. The company’s revolutionary technology suite (virtual storage, compute, orchestration and virtual networking) enables the delivery of high-performing, highly reliable cloud solutions at market-leading price-to-performance ratios. The OrionVM Wholesale Cloud Platform supports private, public, and hybrid cloud deployments and is built either for internal consumption or resale. Efficient and distributed enterprise-grade architecture allows clients to provide their own cloud offerings at margins of up to 80% off Amazon. Partners have full control – from a complete white-label rebranding to billing integration and flexible account management. OrionVM’s technical vision represents a fundamental advancement for Cloud 2.0 infrastructure, which inspired tech luminary, Gordon Bell, to become a company angel investor. Global customers include publicly listed telcos, IT service providers, and leading enterprise SaaS companies. OrionVM company headquarters are in Sydney Australia and in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit www.orionvm.com or follow the conversation on Twitter @orionvm.



About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in six programs: The American Business Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, and the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide.  Learn more about the Stevie Awards at www.StevieAwards.com.

Sponsors and partners of The 2014 American Business Awards include Biz Talk Radio, CallidusCloud, Citrix Online, Cvent, Engility, John Hancock, LycaMobile, PetRays, and Softpro.

Behind the Curtain of OrionVM’s Next-Gen IaaS Platform

By now, you’ve probably seen a great deal about our IaaS platform making business sense. Our Wholesale Cloud Platform provides a turnkey cloud computing infrastructure you can use to launch your own cloud, complete with a white label rebrand, integrated account management and no CapEx.

We think it’s pretty cool. But how did we build it? How does the underlying technology work? Today we thought we would give you a look under the hood of our distinctive cloud architecture.

Industry standard

Firstly, we use the industry standard Xen Hypervisor to run your customer’s virtual machine instances. Xen is a microkernel hypervisor that allows us to run multiple instances on the same physical server, all with complete isolation and security. We host this equipment in our Equinix data centers around the world. Compared to other hypervisors, Xen provides the performance we were looking for, along with the rock solid reliability and security that our customers demand.

On most of our instances, we take advantage of a specific mode in Xen called PVHVM – which stands for Paravirtualised Drivers on HVM. This delivers the best of both worlds, the operating system support and CPU performance of HVM (Hardware Virtual Machine) with the Network and Disk performance of a PV (Paravirtualised) driver.

Utilizing Xen, we are able to run almost any operating system within our environment, including Linux, Windows Server and FreeBSD.

Logo of the Xen project

But then we do more!

For those well versed in Xen, IaaS and cloud infrastructure, none of what we’ve discussed so far may sound new. Where we differentiate ourselves from other cloud computing infrastructure or IaaS providers is our breakthrough, InfiniBand-backed architecture.

In traditional Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) systems, instance storage and compute are often physically located on different servers. Storage is placed in a storage area network (or SAN) cluster, and is connected to the compute nodes with some form of network (usually Gigabit or 10 Gigabit Ethernet). This design has worked reasonably well for Amazon’s IaaS platform, so other providers have tended to emulate it.

While this segregated approach sounds reasonable, easy to maintain and cost effective in theory, it comes with several shortcomings. Our intimate knowledge of Ethernet, informed even further with Gordon Bell‘s mentorship and investment in our platform, tells us it’s not ideal as a storage conduit. In a nutshell, the best-effort approach and variable latency of Ethernet was simply not designed for sustained, high speed, reliable data transfer. At the level it operates, it lacks the capacity to determine packet loss, link level flow control, and can’t be efficiently used to aggregate bandwidth.

This traditional, EC2-clone approach also turns out not to be that cost effective either. SAN controllers and drive arrays are substantial investments, which would have to be passed on to your customers. They also represent a single point of failure and create points of storage contention within the cluster. This all leads to inconsistent and slow performance, while still being relatively expensive.

Enter our world-class, high speed fabric

Rather than work around these issues, or retrofit existing infrastructure to fit as so many others have done, we redesigned the entire system from scratch and removed these issues from the equation entirely.

Firstly, our cloud infrastructure platform is built around a decentralized and distributed architecture. We utilize a homogeneous node architecture, where each node has compute, memory and storage assets. By utilizing homogeneous servers we are able to deliver greater performance at a reduced cost. Traditionally using direct attaches storage has introduced issues such as reduced flexibility and redundancy, but OrionVM has overcome this issue by utilizing a distributed storage architecture over InfiniBand, creating a virtual SAN across our cluster.

This architecture reduces latency, is more cost effective, and mitigates the points of contention and failure that Centralized SANs can cause. The virtual disk of each server can be mounted on any physical server (allowing us to move the instances around the cluster) and is also replicated across multiple servers for redundancy.

InfiniBand was designed specifically for low latency and sustained data transfer, making it perfect for a high performance cloud to be built on. Benchmarks and figures aside, it has also allowed us to design and develop some great features that regular Ethernet and Xen would not have afforded us.

Would you like a slice of “high-availability” with that?

With this redundant, decentralized InfiniBand fabric, we’re able to continuously replicate storage across several nodes while maintaining performance. It allows us to distribute storage efficiently across our cluster, as well as remove hot-spots without impacting performance for customers.

As for your instances, having network backed storage allows us to automatically migrate your instances to different nodes in the event of a physical server failure, rather than having to wait for a technician to enter a data center and perform recovery operations on a physical node.

This design drastically reduces downtime, simplifies the deployment of instances, and provides more immediate feedback to customers.

casestudyAAPT_D-004

Great, so how can my cloud be administered?

This industry leading infrastructure is accessible for your customers through several channels.

Central to this is our completely pre-built web panel. When you deploy your cloud using our platform, you can customize the entire front facing experience your customers will have, including logos, colors, page layout and support links. See how an Australian Telco (AAPT) deployed their CONNECT system with us.

From this panel, your customers can create, administer and remove instances and their associated resources.

For simpler tasks, they can be up and running with one our predefined operating system templates in minutes, with only the RAM and storage space they require specified.

For more customized instances, clients are free to allocate storage and IP addresses and then pull them together into a new instance. Instances can be assigned storage and IP addresses during advanced configuration, or indeed any time they’re shut down. As you’re probably already aware, this elastic provisioning provides far more flexibility than traditional hosting providers.

Conclusion

So, there you have it. At OrionVM, we’re proud of what we’ve built and feel the unique combination of features and functionality can help you attain your cloud computing infrastructure goals. We look forward to seeing the solutions you build using the platform.

Want to be featured on the OrionVM Blog? Please drop us a note and tell us about your experience. We would love to feature your case study.

Wholesale cloud capitalizes on 3 exploding global ICT trends

Welcome to the OrionVM Blog! Top 5 Lessons about Next-Gen IaaS and Wholesale Cloud

The launch of our OrionVM blog comes with auspicious timing, given the recent 25th birthday of the internet. We look to become a meaningful voice for a new generation of cloud technologies that will shape the next 25 years by redefining how and by whom enterprise ICT is managed and deployed.  We have discovered a few things about the industry since our inception in 2010. Read on for the top 5 lessons about next-gen IaaS and wholesale cloud computing that we have learned.

OrionVM’s message is a message of simplicity, innovation, and above all… possibilities; the business agility and profitability made possible when freed from traditional IT approaches to seize upon the many benefits of disruptive innovation. Engineering breakthroughs have enabled a whole new era of efficiency, flexibility, and performance for deploying cloud computing infrastructure. You need to ask yourself, do your technology partners fully leverage these innovations (is it in their DNA?) or do they ultimately have a legacy business to protect? As Larry Dignan states:

“Cloud-first players don’t have legacy businesses to protect. And cloud-first players don’t have sales commission models that will favor big licensing and maintenance deals over recurring revenue subscription models.”

We have ambitious plans for 2014 as we evangelize Cloud 2.0 and the wholesale business model that will enable a growing audience of integrators, VARs and IT solution providers to easily gain a cloud competency and successfully bring clients to market. High performing, premium cloud services – at wholesale prices, are the dream that OrionVM delivers. As Australia’s largest wholesale cloud provider, and now also in the US with the launch of our San Francisco office,  we have learned a few lessons and identified some key trends that you may find useful to consider:

“Global spending on cloud infrastructure to reach $285 Billion by 2017.”– HIS Tech, Feb. 2014

OrionVM Wholesale Cloud Venn

OrionVM’s wholesale cloud IaaS platform capitalizes on three exploding and disruptive global ICT trends

Top 5 Lessons about Next-Gen IaaS and Wholesale Cloud Computing:

  1. Not a commodity – selecting a CSP is strategic.  All clouds are not created equal. Your vendor selections engender many consequences in terms of features, flexibility, and hidden costs that you are wedded to for the duration of the relationship (sometimes longer). You must choose wisely.
  2. The current cloud incumbents have it all wrong — There are some fundamental limitations to how traditional cloud architecture is built. We will talk about the heart of the matter: the problems with 3 tier architectures and the corresponding cost of goods sold (COGS). Stay tuned.
  3. Margins do exist for IaaS resellers and channel partners. Despite what some analysts and CMOs might have you think, the dawn of Cloud 2.0 also brings great opportunity for the channel.
  4. A new approach to infrastructure might be exactly what your business needs.  In the words of Constellation Research, “As with all disruptive technologies, start with the business model, hone in on the business value, then chose the right technology”.
  5. The rise of IT brokers and how channel can challenge the enterprise. A new segment of providers is growing to meet the exploding demand for cloud, and their customers are wary of managing data centers, million dollar infrastructure investments, or worrying if a production environment can reliably scale to support high-traffic, mission-critical workloads.

Follow this blog frequently for relevant discussions and fresh perspectives about the emerging cloud ecosystem. You will gain technical deep dives from experts who are building platforms and tools that make the brave new world of Cloud 2.0 possible. Our mission is to help you better grow your business by making more informed IT decisions. We look to cut through the noise and ever-present “cloud-washing” that too often frame the cloud conversation. We will challenge the biases, agendas, and vested interests of incumbents (as well as our own) to offer real insight and a compelling dialogue to the booming industry of next generation cloud computing infrastructure.

OrionVM Next-Gen Wholesale Cloud Named as Finalist in 2014 Australian Startup Awards

OrionVM and Its Founding Team Recognised for Entrepreneurial Innovation and Influence in Australia Across Multiple Award Categories


OrionVM® (www.orionvm.com), a leading provider of wholesale Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and next-gen cloud technology, was named as a finalist today in the 2014 Australian Startup Awards out of over 360 entries, in the following categories: Startup of the Year and Executive of the Year.


The Australian Startup Awards recognise and celebrate the best of the best talent in young entrepreneurship across Australia. Each finalist and winner of a Startup Award is a young entrepreneur who is paving the way for the future of the Australian business landscape, challenging and reinventing the way in which business is conducted. The 2014 Australian Startup Awards culminate on Saturday, 2nd August 2014, where over 350 entrepreneurs, media and BRW Young Rich List Members will come together to honour OrionVM, the other finalists, and of course, the winners.


OrionVM helps IT solution providers drive profit and deliver high-performing, enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure. OrionVM is Australia’s largest wholesale cloud IaaS provider and recently announced their US expansion in early 2014 with a new headquarters office in San Francisco, CA.


“We understand firsthand the tremendous pressure and drive for success that entrepreneurs feel. Resources like The Entourage provide the support that is hard to find in today’s business world,” said OrionVM Co-Founder and CEO Sheng Yeo. “We are honoured to be selected as a finalist in the Australian Startup Awards program. We strive to empower our employees and colleagues to achieve their goals, even when others are not willing to try or say it cannot be done. Sometimes those are the best opportunities to effect change.”


Sheng Yeo, OrionVM CEO, and Alex Sharp, OrionVM CTO, co-founded OrionVM while attending the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. From their dorm room, they created the concept of building an IaaS company using a completely new technology blueprint. Since their idea’s inception in 2010, they have experienced rapid growth and currently service over 450 global clients, including government agencies, MSPs, and SaaS and PaaS vendors, with notable enterprise clients, including Fastly®, D-Link®, and Vodafone® while developing key technology partnerships with Cumulus NetworksTM and Mellanox. OrionVM also powers Australia’s third largest telco’s (AAPT) public cloud platform. OrionVM is backed by tech luminaries Gordon Bell (Microsoft Research) and Steve Baxter (Pipe Networks).


OrionVM was also recognised as a merit recipient and national finalist in the Tools category of the 2014 iAwards, Australia’s premier technology innovation awards program for the ICT industry. OrionVM was also recently named as a Finalist in the New Product or Service of the Year category for Software – Cloud Infrastructure in the 2014 American Business Awards. Voting is currently open for the People’s Choice Stevie Awards; to vote for OrionVM’s IaaS wholesale cloud platform, visit http://www.stevieawards.com/FavoriteNewProducts.peopleschoice.


The Australian Startup Awards are organised and presented by The Entourage, Australia’s largest educator and community of entrepreneurs in Australia, providing business owners across the country with access to the knowledge, support and resources needed to succeed in today’s modern business environment.


Managing Director of the Entourage, Jack Delosa, has been impressed by the quality of nominees in this year’s program and is encouraged by the rapid success savvy businesses like OrionVM are obtaining.


“The entries in this year’s Awards really exemplifies how the business world has changed with many businesses starting in the last four years and already doing $15m or $16m revenue in their third or fourth year. Entrepreneurship is a rising tide globally and these businesses are examples of why this trend is occurring”, Delosa remarks.


This year, to highlight the diversity and dynamism of Australian businesses, The Entourage joined forces with leading Australian companies to celebrate excellence in a range of categories. The Startup of the Year Award is being supported by vibrant multimedia company, Startup Daily. This award recognizes a business that is less than four years young and has experienced significant financial growth.

For more information on OrionVM, please visit http://www.orionvm.com. Details about the Awards and the list of winners and finalists in all categories are available at: http://australianstartupawards.com.au.


About OrionVM®
OrionVM is a wholesale Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider. The company’s revolutionary technology suite (virtual storage, compute, orchestration and virtual networking) enables the delivery of high-performing, highly reliable cloud solutions at market-leading price-to-performance ratios. The OrionVM Wholesale Cloud Platform supports private, public, and hybrid cloud deployments and is built either for internal consumption or resale. Efficient and distributed enterprise-grade architecture allows clients to provide their own cloud offerings at margins of up to 80% off Amazon. Partners have full control—from a complete white-label rebranding to billing integration and flexible account management. OrionVM’s technical vision represents a fundamental advancement for Cloud 2.0 infrastructure, which inspired tech luminary, Gordon Bell, to become a company angel investor. Global customers include publicly listed telcos, IT service providers, and leading enterprise SaaS companies. OrionVM company headquarters are in Sydney Australia and in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit http://www.orionvm.com or follow the conversation on Twitter @orionvm.


About the Australian Startup Awards and The Entourage
The Australian Startup Awards recognise and celebrate the best of the best talent in young entrepreneurship across Australia. Acknowledging the diverse nature of entrepreneurship and the broad skillset required to achieve success in the modern business environment, The Australian Startup Awards recognise the achievements of business owners in the following areas:  Startup of the Year and Executive of the Year.


The awards are organised and presented by The Entourage, Australia’s largest educator and community of entrepreneurs in Australia. Founded in 2010 by award-winning entrepreneur and investor, Jack Delosa, The Entourage has helped change the lives of hundreds of Australian entrepreneurs through their Scalable & Saleable advisory program. Complimentary training and education are provided to over 15,000 entrepreneurs through their flagship events, such as The Entrepreneurs’ Unconvention and The 8 Steps to Entrepreneurial & Sales Mastery. Their goal is to enable entrepreneurs across Australia (and eventually the world) to win more business in less time so they can spend more time doing the things they love, whatever that may be. To learn more about The Entourage and how they can assist you in accelerating the success of your business, please visit http://www.the-entourage.com.au/.

OrionVM Wholesale Cloud Named As State Merit Recipient and National Finalist in 2014 iAwards

OrionVM IaaS Platform distinguished in premier technology awards program for ICT Industry, recognising Australian innovation

OrionVM® (www.orionvm.com), a leading provider of wholesale Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and next-gen cloud technology, was named as a state merit recipient and national finalist today in the Tools category of the 2014 iAwards, Australia’s premier technology innovation awards program for the ICT industry.


The iAwards honours both companies at the cutting edge of technology innovation as well as leading professionals across the ICT industry. Most importantly, the iAwards recognises the achievements of home-grown Australian innovators. The key goal of the iAwards is to discover, recognise and reward the ICT innovations that have the potential to, or are already having, a positive impact on the community—at home, in the office and on a global scale. The iAwards also recognises the achievements made and value added by ICT professionals, CIOs and other innovators.


The iAwards for the New South Wales (NSW) State territory were presented at a ceremony in Sydney on June 25, 2014. The iAwards State Presentations are where iAwards host organisations, local branches, sponsors and members of the local ICT industry announce the state and territory winners and national finalists for the prestigious 2014 iAwards. These awards honour the best and most innovative solutions in each state or territory. Winners and merit recipients of these state and territory awards go on to represent their state or territory at the national phase of judging, which is being held in Melbourne on 29 August at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. OrionVM was named a merit recipient and national finalist in the Tools category for the 2014 NSW State iAwards.


OrionVM helps IT solution providers drive profit and deliver high-performing, enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure. Fuelled by strong demand for its market-leading wholesale cloud platform, OrionVM achieved a record year in 2013 with a 20-fold increase of customers, adding enterprise clients such as Fastly, D-Link, and Vodafone, and launched key technology partnerships with Cumulus NetworksTM and Mellanox. OrionVM is Australia’s largest wholesale cloud IaaS provider and recently announced their US expansion in early 2014 with a new headquarters office in San Francisco, CA.


“Our entire team is honoured to be chosen as a merit recipient and finalist among so many innovative Australian companies nominated for this year’s iAwards,” said OrionVM Co-Founder and CEO Sheng Yeo. “This recognition validates the impact of disruptive technologies like OrionVM’s cloud offering that are helping companies to remain competitive, increase efficiency, and generate new business. We are proud of our company’s Australian roots and appreciate the efforts of the iAwards organisation to highlight the cutting-edge achievements that Australia is offering to the world.”


Judging of the group awards is divided into two stages. Phase one determines the state winner for each category and is undertaken by an online review of the nomination submitted. This first phase of state judging is an on-paper review carried out by ICT industry professionals. The judging panel will assess all iAwards nominations in order to select winners in each category for each state. iAwards judges will assess nominations against the relevant selection criteria. State winners progress to phase two. This is a face-to-face presentation that will take place in Melbourne. The second national phase of judging is designed to enable each of the state winners to present their nominations to a panel of iAwards judges in person.


For more information on OrionVM, please visit http://www.orionvm.com. Details about the iAwards and the list of winners and finalists in all categories are available at http://iawards.com.au.


About OrionVM®
OrionVM is a wholesale Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider. The company’s revolutionary technology suite (virtual storage, compute, orchestration and virtual networking) enables the delivery of high-performing, highly reliable cloud solutions at market-leading price-to-performance ratios. The OrionVM Wholesale Cloud Platform supports private, public, and hybrid cloud deployments and is built either for internal consumption or resale. Efficient and distributed enterprise-grade architecture allows clients to provide their own cloud offerings at margins of up to 80% off Amazon. Partners have full control—from a complete white-label rebranding to billing integration and flexible account management. OrionVM’s technical vision represents a fundamental advancement for Cloud 2.0 infrastructure, which inspired tech luminary, Gordon Bell, to become a company angel investor. Global customers include publicly listed telcos, IT service providers, and leading enterprise SaaS companies. OrionVM company headquarters are in Sydney Australia and in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit or follow the conversation on Twitter @orionvm.


About the iAwards
iAwards is the premier technology awards platform in Australia delivering the most comprehensive program that recognises the achievements and innovation made in ICT across all facets of the economy. The iAwards program’s goal is to provide external stakeholders from business, industry and government with a clear view of the people leading ICT in Australia and the quality of innovation being produced. The iAwards honours both companies at the cutting edge of technology innovation as well as leading professionals across the industry. Most importantly, the iAwards honours the achievements of home-grown Australian innovators. For more information, please visit http://www.iawards.com.au or follow the conversation on Twitter @theiawards.